I’ve been here before. A number of times, in fact.
Page 27 of Infinite Jest. The end of the first “Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment” installment, the ten-page narrative of the nameless male character waiting for a nameless female character to either call or show up at his door with 200mg of dope so he can have one more binge weekend before he gives it up for good.
Each time I’ve started IJ – at least three times now – I get to this point. Sometimes I get further, as far as about page 70 on one occasion. Then, due to unforeseen circumstances, mostly outside of my control, I slow my reading. I get busy with other things. I forget to bring my book with me when I have a doctor’s appointment. Then I forget what’s happening and have to go back and reread a chapter or two, and then I only make a few pages progress. Then I put it down on the end table when it sits. And sits. And then – usually when we’re expecting company – it ends up back on the shelf where it stares longingly at me, patiently waiting for me to pick it up again.
So I picked it up again. I started page 1 again. “I am seated in an office, surrounded by heads and bodies.” And I’m off once again, reliving the moment Hal Incandenza goes bat-crap crazy during his University of Arizona admissions interview. I’m left wondering what brought him to this point and what is in store for him after this point.
Then it’s on to the pothead. Slogging through those ten pages of nervous anxiety – and that’s before he’s had any dope – only to have him left frozen by the simultaneous ringing of the door buzzer and the telephone.
And here I am again. Page 27. Only 1052 pages to go. The summer ahead of me. A couple practice runs under my belt. A little more determination this time.
It’s gonna happen. So help me, it’s gonna happen.
 I intend to write a separate Letter on this chapter later this week. But I’m sure this chapter that has had me searching the medicine cabinet for Xanax while reading the anxiety-inducing narrative about the obsessive dope addict anxiously anticipating his “final” binge has had nothing to do with my stopping reading the book shortly thereafter.
 I practically have the whole first chapter memorized.
 Being a part of the Wallace fan community for two and a half years, I feel like I know the answers to those questions. But I have yet to read far enough to discover the answers for myself.